L.A. Controller Launches Updated ‘Payroll Explorer’ Giving the Public Greater Insight Into City Employee Pay, Overtime and Benefit Costs

LOS ANGELES — Controller Ron Galperin today unveiled an updated version of his Payroll Explorer website, which allows anyone to search current and historical pay and benefits information for City of Los Angeles employees. Users can search by department, job or employee and will find data for this year, 2021, and each calendar year back through 2013. Created by Galperin in 2013 as part of Control Panel L.A. — the City’s first Open Data portal — the Controller has improved Payroll Explorer regularly, adding employee health care and pension costs in 2019, and now employee gender and ethnicity data.

“As Controller and paymaster for the City of Los Angeles, it is my job to ensure that City employees get paid, but I have also pushed to bring greater transparency to public salaries so that taxpayers understand where their money is going,” said Controller Galperin. “This is why I created Payroll Explorer and why I’ve worked hard to improve it year after year. Shining a light on spending also helps inform City residents and leaders about existing inequities in the workforce and encourages greater government accountability.”

In addition to expanded search functionality, Payroll Explorer contains charts that reveal the City’s highest paid employees in each year, the departments with the highest total payroll and the largest departments by number of full and part-time employees.

Some Payroll Explorer highlights

  • Total payroll for calendar year 2020: $6.86 billion, including $5 billion in regular pay, $713 million in overtime and $755 million in benefits.
  • Nine City employees earned at least $500,000 in 2020; all worked for the Fire Department or the Port of Los Angeles. In fact, all of the 20 highest paid employees worked for LAFD or the Port.
  • The highest paid City employee in 2020 was a Fire Captain, who earned $585,000, including $161,000 in base pay and more than $400,000 in overtime.
  • Six of the 10 highest paid employees in 2020 were white men.
  • LAPD had the highest payroll of all departments in 2020 at $1.92 billion and the highest number of employees, 14,143.
  • Department of Water and Power had the second highest 2020 department payroll, $1.35 billion — $570 million less than LAPD with 2,177 fewer employees.

The Controller’s Office will update Payroll Explorer’s data every two weeks for each department with the exception of DWP, which will be updated quarterly.

Find Payroll Explorer at lacontroller.org/payrollexplorer or on Control Panel L.A. at https://lacontroller.org/controlpanel-la/.

Controller Galperin also has reported on pay issues and disparities among City employees in his recent reports on gender and racial equity and overtime.

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.